An Event Barn in Big Sky Country
Although the sky in Montana takes center stage, barns are an essential part of the western horizon. Barns dot the countryside in shades of weathered gray and red. Some have fallen into disrepair, but it isn’t uncommon to see an old barn preserved or turned into an event barn by new generations with a steadfast loyalty to preserving the past.
Often billed as “rustic,” a barn was actually the original rural luxury. It cost more than a home and stored a ranch’s wealth, in the form of livestock, equipment and feed. Barns were painted to seal them from the elements, but the use of red paint was primarily for effect, to showcase a family’s prosperity. It kept horses and cattle safe and warm, stored hay, often in an upper loft, and provided a large space for people to gather.
The New York Times recently published a story about an event barn and the rise of barn weddings, describing some celebrations as disruptive. In Montana, it is a resurgence, since the barn was always a place of safety and community celebration. In our remote setting, a barn is nestled far away from other homesteads. A Montana barn wedding can be as private or inclusive as the family desires.
According to Chere Jiusto and Christine W. Brown, in Hand Raise: The Barns of Montana, “Barns are an emblem of the importance of rural communities and family enterprise. They remind us that with spirit and ingenuity we can live in balance with the land, that we can support our neighbors who work hard and long to bring food to our tables, and that we can celebrate the bounty of their efforts. Those much-loved barns are an essential part of our cultural landscape.” Read more…